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Why help? Relationship quality, not strategic grooming predicts infant-care in group-living marmosets


Finkenwirth, Christa; Burkart, Judith M (2018). Why help? Relationship quality, not strategic grooming predicts infant-care in group-living marmosets. Physiology and Behavior, 193:108-116.

Abstract

Cooperatively breeding common marmosets raise their infants with the help of other adult group members, but individual care-taking contribution can vary considerably. We tested four hypotheses that may explain this variation within marmoset family groups. The pay-for-help hypothesis argues that allogrooming is used strategically by parents to pay helpers for helping. The pay-for-infant-access hypothesis claims that helpers use allogrooming as payment for infant-access. The intrinsic predisposition hypothesis suggests that more affiliative individuals are also more motivated for infant-care, and the relationship quality hypothesis that individuals involved in highly affiliative relationships with main caregivers contribute more to infant-care. To test these hypotheses, we followed five marmoset family groups over a total of eight reproductive cycles, and quantified affiliative behavior, infant-carrying, and food sharing over six to 12 weeks around infant-birth. We found no evidence for either the pay-for-help or pay-for-infant-access hypotheses nor did intrinsic prosocial predisposition determine individual infant-care. Mutual dyadic affiliation, however, was positively linked to infant-carrying and food sharing in female and male breeders and in male helpers. This suggests that cooperation during infant-care is mediated by relationship quality rather than strategic grooming in marmosets. Overall, these results may also contribute to a better understanding of cooperation in humans.

Abstract

Cooperatively breeding common marmosets raise their infants with the help of other adult group members, but individual care-taking contribution can vary considerably. We tested four hypotheses that may explain this variation within marmoset family groups. The pay-for-help hypothesis argues that allogrooming is used strategically by parents to pay helpers for helping. The pay-for-infant-access hypothesis claims that helpers use allogrooming as payment for infant-access. The intrinsic predisposition hypothesis suggests that more affiliative individuals are also more motivated for infant-care, and the relationship quality hypothesis that individuals involved in highly affiliative relationships with main caregivers contribute more to infant-care. To test these hypotheses, we followed five marmoset family groups over a total of eight reproductive cycles, and quantified affiliative behavior, infant-carrying, and food sharing over six to 12 weeks around infant-birth. We found no evidence for either the pay-for-help or pay-for-infant-access hypotheses nor did intrinsic prosocial predisposition determine individual infant-care. Mutual dyadic affiliation, however, was positively linked to infant-carrying and food sharing in female and male breeders and in male helpers. This suggests that cooperation during infant-care is mediated by relationship quality rather than strategic grooming in marmosets. Overall, these results may also contribute to a better understanding of cooperation in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:07 Jun 2018 09:03
Last Modified:05 Mar 2020 16:29
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0031-9384
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.02.050
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID310030_130383
  • : Project TitleDid cooperative breeding shape our minds? Comparative tests with nonhuman primates

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